March 20, 2011

Issues in the classroom

This semester I am co-teaching a class on International Relations with another American teacher. I have been teaching the different theories & principles of IR and she would go over different case studies looking at how these theories play out in real life. One week we had a guest speaker come in and give a talk on world view and how your culture, nationality, religion, language, etc effect how you see the world.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the midterm for this class. It consisted of an article with 3-4 questions about the different theories and principles we had discussed in class. However, I was asked by the dep't head to postpone the test a week because the students had complained to him that they didn't understand what was happening in the class. I told him that the previous semester International Relations was team taught with even more speakers to 3rd year students, this class is 2nd year students. Apparently between your 2nd and 3rd year you figure out that everything said in class is relevant for the exam regardless of who the teacher is.

I have no problem with the students not understanding, that is a perfectly normal thing to happen. But why is the teacher always the last to know about it? I have had issues with other classes and instead of asking me questions about whatever they don't understand they complain to the administration. I am led to assume that asking questions of the teacher is not culturally acceptable but I don't really know. Apparently the correct course of action when something is unclear in class is to complain to the highest authority possible. And students wonder why American teachers don't stay in Djibouti.

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